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This blog was featured on 04/30/2018
Lisa Ko Chats with She Writes Before Her SWU Class
Written by
She Writes
April 2018
Written by
She Writes
April 2018

Lisa Ko is the author of The Leavers, a novel which was a finalist for the 2017 National Book Award for Fiction and won the 2016 PEN/Bellwether Prize for Socially Engaged Fiction. Her writing has appeared in Best American Short Stories 2016, The New York Times, BuzzFeedO. Magazine, and elsewhere. She has been awarded fellowships from the New York Foundation for the Arts, the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, and the MacDowell Colony, among others, and has taught graduate-level creative writing workshops in both fiction and non-fiction.

Be sure to join Lisa Ko for her She Writes University class Plot and Story: How to Hook Your Readers and Keep Them Reading.

SW: Briefly set the scene for your writing habits: Where do you write? How do you write? What's your routine?

LK: I like to write first thing in the morning, even before I’m fully awake. I sit at my desk in my apartment with a cup of coffee. (Though these days, I write whenever I can, wherever I can.)

SW: What is the first thing you can remember writing?

LK: I wrote my first book, Magenta Goes to College, when I was five. The title character was named after my favorite crayon.

SW: Describe a moment when your own writing scared you or surprised you.

LK: I put down a manuscript I was working on for a few months because I was stuck, and when I finally re-read it, so much time had passed that it was like reading it for the first time. I was surprised that it actually needed less work than I thought.

SW: At what point did you begin to truly feel like a “writer”?

LK: When I published my first short story.

SW: What’s one of the lessons in your She Writes University class that you really wish YOU had learned earlier in your writing career?

LK: That storytelling craft can be taught and learned – and that you don’t need to figure it all out on your own.

SW: Why do you feel it’s important to offer a writing class to other women writers through She Writes University?

LK: Women writers have been my mentors and teachers, and I feel it’s vital for us to support each other. Our stories are too important not to be told.

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